Even if she hadn’t brought out Jay Z, Solange, and her two former Destiny’s Child bandmates, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland, even if it hadn’t been a performance two years in the making, Beyoncé’s headlining set at Coachella Saturday night surely would have been a memorable one. But such an alternate scenario doesn’t really matter, because she did deliver all of the above on the main stage at the festival in Indio, California, after suddenly bowing out last year. (She was replaced in the 2017 lineup with Lady Gaga, who went on to take up residency in Las Vegas.)
As she made sure to mention during her set, Beyoncé is the first black woman musician to headline the festival, which has been criticized for the lack of diversity among its top-billed acts. (Lady Gaga, for example, was just the second woman to headline the festival in Coachella history, and the first in 10 years.) So, with the convergence of all these factors, everyone from your average festivalgoer to Beyoncé’s admiring peers—both at the festival and beyond—was extremely hyped for the show, which ran a marathon 27 songs over the course of two hours. (It led The New York Times to declare, in a review of the show, that “Beyoncé Is Bigger Than Coachella.”)
And everyone, from Chance the Rapper to Ava DuVernay to Elizabeth Banks, made sure to make public their admiration for Queen Bey on social media. Rihanna, who earlier in the day hosted a pool party at Coachella, was probably too busy dancing to post anything on Instagram or Snapchat, but Adele, watching on her television at home, posted multiple boomerangs of herself dancing along to the performance—in one, brandishing a trumpet; in another, simply whipping her hair around.
Meanwhile, the actress and model Cara Delevingne posted a more earnest tribute to the show. Alongside an image of Beyoncé, Rowland, and Williams, she captioned, “That performance made me burst into tears and sent shivers down my spine,” adding, “Thank you for inspiring so many and for lifting each other up.” She had previously criticized the festival’s ownership for its homophobic and anti-gun-control stances, and in a follow-up post to her Instagram stories, she explained that her condemnation of the festival and her admiration for Beyoncé are not mutually exclusive. “My hashtag was #Nochella,” she wrote. “I am allowed to shame that man and the festival and show my appreciation of an artist at the same time.”
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I am speechless. That performance made me burst into tears and sent shivers down my spine. Especially the Destiny’s child reunion. ICONIC is an understatement. Thank you for inspiring so many and for lifting each other up. #GirlPower @michellewilliams @beyonce @kellyrowland
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Other reactions were more straightforward—like Lena Waithe’s lament that she simply couldn’t find the GIFs fast enough to capture her feelings about Beyoncé at Coachella, or Sam Smith’s comment that “Beyoncé at Coachella looks out of this world,” which he followed with the flame, rose, and heart emojis. Designer Olivier Rousteing, never missing an opportunity for some Balmain branding, posted several images from the performance, for which he designed custom looks, and compared Beyoncé's legion of around 200 backup dancers to the #BalmainArmy. See a few of the best reactions on Instagram, Twitter, and in the crowd at Coachella, below.
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